Online business toolsGone are the days when business software was something that had to be locally installed and deployed by some expert in a company’s IT department. These days, it can oftentimes make a lot more sense to use online business tools instead, particularly in the context of small and medium sized businesses, as well as Internet startups.

Traditional workspaces are giving way to more modern takes on how a company can operate and the same thing can be said about the tools and services utilized. By subscribing to cloud-based solutions, local software can become a thing of the past and all an employee needs is an Internet connection and a web browser. These tools can power nearly every aspect of almost any business.

Freshdesk Customer Support

Manage your customer care online

Manage your customer care online

Have you ever had an issue with your Internet provider, wireless carrier or your all-in-one printer? There’s a good chance that you had to call into a customer support line in order to get help. Moving forward, though, far more customers want to access this assistance over the Internet and a tool like Freshdesk can be a perfect solution. It supports multiple channels of support, so you can stay on top of issues and requests no matter how your customers choose to contact you. The gamified mechanics mean your customer service agents are happy and motivated too. The free plan supports up to three agents with phone or email support with pricing going up from there for additional features and agents.

Insightly CRM

Keeping tabs on all your customer relationships

Keeping tabs on all your customer relationships

Whereas Freshdesk is one of the best online business tools for managing customer support, a big objective has to be acquiring those customers in the first place… and then retaining them and nurturing the relationship. Insightly prides itself as the “CRM of choice for business of all sizes,” making it easy to manage all your contacts, events, tasks and more under a single unified roof. The CRM goes beyond lead management too, involving all your suppliers, partners, vendors and more. The free plan allows for up to 2 users with up to 2,500 records. The entry-level basic plan is $12 per user per month (billed annually) to unlock the mobile app, 50 custom fields, 25,000 records, and 1GB of storage.

Freshbooks Invoices and Expenses

A simple and robust solution for invoicing

A simple and robust solution for invoicing

You may go in with the best of intentions about how you’re going to change the world for the better, but at the end of the day, you still need to get paid and that means invoicing your clients. Freshbooks is a clean and simple invoicing tool to create professional-looking invoices in a matter of seconds. You can accept credit cards right from your invoice, including multiple currencies, and it all integrates with the rest of the Freshbooks ecosystem, including expense management and time tracking. The most popular plan is $29.95/month, allowing for unlimited invoices, unlimited clients and up to one additional staff member.

Targetprocess Project Management

Agile project management that grows with your company

Agile project management that grows with your company

Staying on top of complex work can be an exercise in frustration and confusion. Targetprocess might be one of the most important online business tools for your company, as it is one of the most flexible online project management solutions around. It supports both Kanban and Scrum styles of agile project management with easy at-a-glance overviews across teams, products and projects. The free team plan allows up to 1000 entities with basic support.

Mention Social Media Monitoring

Complete online business tools for brand monitoring

Complete online business tools for brand monitoring

The modern face of business is one of engagement and conversation. You speak to your customers just as much as they speak to you, even if they are doing so indirectly. Stay on top of that discussion with Mention, a tool for monitoring the web, brand and social media for everything to do with your company. It’s designed to track your competition, better understand your market, and to find everyone who is talking about you. This allows you to proactively squash potential problems and facilitate positive connections with your target customer base. The $99/month Starter plan for small businesses supports up to 5 alerts, 5,000 mentions, and 3 users, featuring analytics, advanced search, sentiment analysis and more.

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